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I do alot of "commuting" on a bike, going from place to place along flat roads, however its more for fun than anything else. One question I have always pondered is how high your seat should be for maximum efficiency. I've always had it at about handlebar level, this seemed comfortable and efficient. But when I look at magazines or pictures on the net involving XC bikes I see the seats are way higher than the bars. I tried this and it worked alright, a little uncomfortable though. It seemed to involve the calf muscles more than pedaling with a lower seat. Needless to say I wasn't used to it. My question is, how high should your seat be for maximum flatland efficiency? Is the higher seat just for hillclimbing? What about foot placement on the pedals, middle or more towards the toes? Thanks for the insight!
 

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You should be able to find tons and tons of info on this from google or searching these forums.

However, your handlebars are not a good reference point for your seat height. Typically, the seat height is set and then handlebar drop and reach is determined relative to that. A general rule to get close is to measure your cycling inseam (right up to the pelvis bone), multiply by 0.883 or so, and put the top of your saddle at that distance from your BB. Then move it in tiny increments until it feels just right. Then worry about bar height.
 

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Harvest72 said:
I do alot of "commuting" on a bike, going from place to place along flat roads, however its more for fun than anything else. One question I have always pondered is how high your seat should be for maximum efficiency. I've always had it at about handlebar level, this seemed comfortable and efficient. But when I look at magazines or pictures on the net involving XC bikes I see the seats are way higher than the bars. I tried this and it worked alright, a little uncomfortable though. It seemed to involve the calf muscles more than pedaling with a lower seat. Needless to say I wasn't used to it. My question is, how high should your seat be for maximum flatland efficiency? Is the higher seat just for hillclimbing? What about foot placement on the pedals, middle or more towards the toes? Thanks for the insight!
Check out MB Action Mag March 2005. There is a write up by RC on "Fitting your bike to your body". I tested that and amazingly the bike fits my body much better now.

In summary, the height of your saddle will depending on your leg arc. The other tip is on how far backwards your saddle should be. I found out that the about 1" from the center spindle works well for me. If your saddle cant move backwards anymore to get this setting, I guess this is where the slightly bend seat post is for. As for the handle bar, well, that will be a tuning for your upper body. This is where you will determine you need a shorter or longer stem. Usually the stem length decision only after you get the right height and position of your seat post. This is becoz, moving the saddle higher will also make them move backwards further.
 

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The taller the seat post the less setback you need. On my MTB commuters I've got posts that do not have any setback (the ones like the Thomsons) on them because I typically have about 300 mm of post sticking up. Shorter riders often need some setback because the set moves forward as the saddle moves towards the BB.
 
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